Mother speaks out after stranger takes baby at Harrison restaurant

HARRISON, Ark. - A woman and her husband were celebrating their anniversary with dinner at Colton's Steakhouse in Harrison, Arkansas. They brought along their two-month-old baby, Briella.

That’s when a woman came up to their table.

"So she lifted up the car seat canopy thing and was looking at her. Well my husband went to the restroom," Jolynn Cross, the mother of Briella, said.

Cross said she wasn't sure exactly who the woman was, but thought her husband knew her and was a distant family member.

"Started bouncing her, comforting her like she knew her, knew us. She sat down in front of me at the table, and this was about the time my husband was coming back," Cross said. "And she was kissing her on her head and on her cheek."

Her husband thought his wife knew her. Then they realized neither of them knew her.

"It went from transitioning to someone I thought I knew to someone I had no idea who was touching or kissing my baby. It was like slow motion," Cross said.

Cross said she questioned the woman, asking if she knew her husband.

"That's when I tried to get up, and that's when she got up and rushed to her table. And as she was doing that I turned and told a server to call 911," Cross said.

She said the woman never said anything the entire time.

"That's when I followed her behind, and she sat down. And I tried to get her away from her, and I said, 'Please give me my baby.' And she did this and held her tighter, and I was like, 'Please just give me my baby back.' And that's when I had to pull her away from her."

When police got there they arrested 30-year-old Brittni McNeill.

"Officers also spoke with Mr. McNeill, and he said he was as shocked as the Crosses," said Harrison Police Chief Chris Graddy.

In the police report, McNeill's husband said she was not taking her medication for bipolar disorder.

"I've been in law enforcement several years, and I don't know when the last time anything like this even happened. That's I'm aware of," Graddy said.

Graddy said don't be scared to ask questions.

"There's nothing wrong with saying, 'Now how do I know you?' Especially when it comes to your child," he said.

McNeill was charged with interference with child custody, a felony, and second degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.